Concert Review: “Two of a Perfect Trio” Fairfield, CT

“Two of a Perfect Trio” featuring King Crimson members Adrian Belew, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto
Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011
Venue: FTC’s Stage One in Fairfield, CT

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

As King Crimson’s Adrian Belew, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto took the stage at FTC’s Stage One, a keen observer of detail in the audience decided to point out “Hey!! You’re missing your Fripp!”  However, from the first note played to the final closing bows, the crowd that gathered for this stop of the “Two of a Perfect Trio” tour were enthralled and mesmerized with all-things Crimson (and many things non-Crimson) even if Robert Fripp, the ever-esteemed founder of one of progressive rock’s most heralded bands, wasn’t the master of ceremonies.

The “Two of a Perfect Trio” tour was conceived of during the “Three of a Perfect Pair” Camp, a week-long music camp that took place in mid-August that allowed its campers – musicians and non-musicians alike – to learn from and hang out with Belew, Levin and Mastelotto.  The resulting show allows two trios Tony Levin’s Stick Men and the Adrian Belew Power Trio to each perform a set, and concludes with a third “Crim-centric” set in which various combinations of each trio’s members perform together.

With bass guru Levin on the polyphonic Chapman Stick (as well as his trusty Music Man 5-string electric complete with his patented “Funk Fingers”), Markus Reuter from Innsbruck, Germany on a custom “Touch Guitar” of his own design and drummer extraordinaire Pat Mastelotto delivering a solid funky beat interlaced with a myriad of electronic percussive sounds, the Stick Men set the tone for the three-hour show with a mighty roar in the form of the instrumental “VROOOM” from King Crimson’s 1995 album “Thrak”.  The trio then dove into a number of Stick Men originals and concluded their set with an improvisational rendition of Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite”.  Despite Reuter’s stoic stance throughout the band’s entire performance and Levin’s sometimes goofy lyric and semi-spoken lead vocals, all three “Sticks” were clearly enjoying themselves and never failed to deliver virtuoso performances and music that, while progressive and complex, was always accessible and – for one particular audience member – reason enough to put on her buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-boogie shoes.

Adrian Belew and the other two members rounding out the “Power Trio”, longtime bassist Julie Slick and newcomer Tobias Ralph on drums, began their part of the show with a sampling of Belew’s solo work (including “Young Lions”, “Beat Box Guitar” and “Of Bow and Drum”) that had much more of a pop music feel than the thickly-layered and sometimes semi-schizoid songs that King Crimson are well know for – although the trio did manage to sneak in the seldom-heard “Neurotica” from King Crimson’s 1982 album, “Beat” which served to remind the audience that they aren’t just a trio – they’re a POWER trio.  As was the case with the Stick Men, Belew and company closed their set with a long-form instrumental piece, a section from Belew’s “e”, a five-part suite that Belew performed in tandem with a full orchestra in Amsterdam earlier this year.

With her long curly hair and bare feet, the Power Trio’s Julie Slick revealed that she can lay down a serious bass groove that perfectly accompanies the extensivearray of bending, swirly and occasionally aggressive sounds that Belew can deliver via his signature series Parker Fly guitar.  Drummer Tobias Ralph delivered all of the goods and then some.  Taking the place of Julie’s brother, Eric, for this tour, Ralph positioned himself behind a fairly simple drum kit (at least in comparison to Mastelotto’s) and pounded out rhythms and beats that would make former King Crimson and Yes uber-drummer, Bill Bruford, envious.

The much-anticipated “Crim-centric” final portion of the show opened with Crims Levin, Belew and Mastelotto doing spot-on renditions of latter-day King Crimson tunes such as “Three of a Perfect Pair” and “Elephant Talk”.  Other players from each trio joined in to accentuate other powerhouse Crimtunes such as “Frame by Frame” “Thela Hun Ginjeet” and the always-blistering “Red”. Even the ballad-esque “One Time”, featuring a subtle yet powerful solo vocal by Belew, managed to work its way onto the set list.

But the defining moment of the show happened in the improvised back and forth drum duel that prefaced Belew’s lyric in “Indiscipline”.  Instead of the serious and somewhat cold super-precision that was at the core of the battle between Pat Mastelotto and Bill Bruford when this song was performed throughout the 1995 “Thrak” tour, Mastelotto and Ralph brought a whimsical and humorous quality to their bombastic exchange of phrases and licks that would rarely (if ever) be seen at an actual King Crimson show.  As Belew exclaimed at the end of the song with arms outstretched in a Rocky Balboa-esque stance, “I LIKE IT!!!”  As did all who had assembled in the Court of the Crimson King.

The “Two of a Perfect Trio” Tour continues through until October 29th.  For a list of dates and venues as well as ticket information, visit .

Blu-Ray Review “The Perfect Host”

Directed by: Nick Tomnay
Starring: David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford
MPAA Rating: R
running Time: 93 minutes
Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Film: 3.5 of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 of 5 stars

I would categorize this film as a dark comedy and its quite dark but also quite funny. David Hyde Pierce gives one of the best performances of his career. He is funny. He is creepy. He just is perfect for the role. He even has this fantastic walk throughout the film. The Blu-ray presentation is top-notch. The picture is great and the sound plays perfectly between the music and dialogue.

The story focuses on John Taylor (Crawford) a criminal that is on the run after committing a major crime. He face is all over the news and he decides to hide out in the house of Warwick Wilson (Pierce). When things get out of control, John takes things to the next level but finds out that he might be in well over his head.  The story is spaced very well until the end when it switches gears and gets a little lost.  It tries a little too hard to be smart then it needs to but overall it succeeds on most accounts.

The only real special feature on the disc is “Making of The Perfect Host”. It runs about 10 minutes and features writer/director/editor Nick Tomnay talks about his 26 minute black-and-white short that he expanded into this feature-length film. Also included is “HDNet: A Look at The Perfect Host”, which is basically an extended trailer with a few short interviews. Lastly there is the trailer attached. Overall good movie, disappointing extras.


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Film Review “The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll”

Directed by: Scott Rosenbaum
Starring: Kevin Zegers, Jason Ritter, Peter Fonda, Taryn Manning
Red Hawk Films
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 92 minutes

Our Score 3.5 out of 5 stars

Music is a big inspiration in my life and I am always jump at the chance to see a good music road-movie. That is what this film is a good music road-movie. You can tell when you watch the film that it is a real labor of love from director Scott Rosenbaum. He has put many years into this film and that is what makes this film unique. Most music films are cliche but this one makes a stand and stand aside from the others. Great performances only add more to this film…and it is one intense journey through the world of music.

Rock star Spyder (Kevin Zegers) is looking to record his band’s third album and seeks long lost childhood friend, Eric Genson (Jason Ritter) for help. Spyder is struggling and burnt out after the flop of his sophomore album. Eric agrees to help Spyder as long as they do it his way. The guys set out on a cross country journey from Long Island, NY to Los Angeles, CA. Accompanying the band is their manager (Taryn Manning), the legendary August West (Peter Fonda). As they travel along historic Route 66 it makes them realize what their journey truly means and what they are looking for in music and life.

The film is not all fun and games and is quite gritty and intense. It shows the ups but also a whole lot of downs as the group travels. The acting in this film is so key to this film working and it really succeeds. Kevin Zegers is dark and channels his goth rocker quite well. Jason Ritter is emotional and really sells this performance. Peter Fonda aces his character in the film as always as the aged but still cool rocker. I look forward to Scott Rosenbaum next feature to see what he draws up after this successful debut. Music fans keep an eye out for blues legends Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin and Sugar Blue.


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From The Producers Of “Saw” and “Poltergeist”, “The Perfect Host” Heads Home


From The Producers Of Saw and Poltergeist, The Dark Comedy Arrives On Blu-ray Disc And DVD On August 30 From Magnolia Home Entertainment Under The Magnet Label

“Black humor turns comically darker in twisty quasi-suspenser The Perfect Host.” – The Hollywood Reporter

A dinner party crasher learns manners the hard way in the “fun, minimalistic thriller that piles on the suspense” (Slash Film), The Perfect Host arriving on Blu-ray Disc and DVD August 30 from Magnolia Home Entertainment under the Magnet Label. With standout performances from David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”) and Clayne Crawford (“24”), The Perfect Host takes viewers on a suspense-filled ride revealing just how far people are willing to go to satisfy their needs.

From the producers of the Saw franchise and Poltergeist, The Perfect Host, follows Warwick Wilson (Pierce), in a performance described “as delicious as the duck Warwick serves at dinner” (Twitch Film), the meticulously perfect host who receives an unexpected dinner guest in John Taylor (Crawford), a bank robber on the run. Yet Taylor gets more then bargained for when he rings Warwick’s doorbell. As the night wears on, secrets are revealed and it becomes clear that nothing is quite as it seems.

An official selection at the Sundance Film Festival, Fantasia International Film Festival and the Sitges Film Festival, co-writers Nick Tomnay and Krishna Jones have created “a seamlessly crafted story that keeps you guessing with every scene” (Slug Magazine). Loaded with special features, The Perfect Host Blu-ray Disc and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $29.98 and $26.98, respectively.

Warwick Wilson is the consummate host. The table is set and the duck is perfectly timed for 8:30 p.m. John Taylor is a career criminal. He’s just robbed a bank and needs to get off the streets. He finds himself on Warwick’s doorstep posing as a friend of a friend, new to Los Angeles, who’s been mugged and lost his luggage. As the wine flows and the evening progresses, it becomes clear that appearances can be deceiving.